A MEETING is being sought with the new Scottish Health Secretary to discuss the "urgent issue" of a replacement health centre in Lochgelly.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley has written to the new Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Neil Gray MSP, asking for talks on the ongoing saga in which has seen plans for a new facility in Lochgelly – and Kincardine – put on hold due to lack of funding.

The Labour politician has raised the issue of health centres in Fife on a number of occasions, including holding a public meeting last year on the need for a replacement health centre in Lochgelly.

He said the Scottish Government "cannot simply continue to delay essential building works intended to fix or replace the crumbling infrastructure" that the health service relies on.

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“I was dismayed to read reports this morning that the Scottish Government has put a hold on all NHS building projects and have requested an urgent meeting with the new Health Secretary to discuss the impact this will have on the Lochgelly and Kincardine Health Centre replacement projects," he said.

“People in Fife have been waiting too long already for these essential replacements – a replacement health centre in Lochgelly was supposed to be delivered by 2019, and the first announcement of replacement for the health centre in Kincardine was in 2016.

“So, I am tired of the SNP using the current financial situation to excuse their total inaction on these issues over the last 17 years.

“NHS Fife have made clear that these health centres no longer meet the needs of their local populations so it is simply not an option for the Health Secretary to decide against replacement.

“That is why I have requested a meeting to discuss what will be done to provide the access to health services that the people of Fife rightly deserve and demand.”

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NHS Fife promised to replace the David Street facility by 2019 and has previously said it was “functionally inadequate and compromises proactive patient care”.

However, work never started and it was kicked into the long grass last year when the Scottish Government announced it was to adopt a phased approach to capital expenditure meaning it could not be delivered within planned timescales.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament last week, saying that while she acknowledged the funding issues, it must "surely be Lochgelly’s turn now."

Speaking afterwards, she said: “I welcomed the Cabinet Secretary to his new post and wished him well in it but I also left him in no doubt about my firm view of the importance of delivering a new health centre for the people of Lochgelly.

“I heard and appreciated all that Mr Gray has had to say about the financial challenges imposed by the UK Government cut to the Scottish capital grant over the next ten years, allied to rises in inflation and interest rates caused, in great part, by the self-same UK Government’s inept handling of the economy.

“With all new capital projects under review paused and under review by the Deputy First Minister, l welcome the offer of discussions from the Cabinet Secretary.

"I will make it very clear that, whilst a reprioritisation of current capital projects in the health sector may be sadly inevitable, a new medical centre for Lochgelly was first promised in 2011 and it must surely be Lochgelly’s turn now.”

Responding in parliament, Neil Gray MSP said: "I am more than happy to have a discussion about what may be possible. At the moment all capital projects across Government are under review.

"The Deputy First Minister will be returning with the results of that review which will set out the trajectory for our capital investments going forward."